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  • Speeches: Remarks at the Good Society and Corruption Conference

    As prepared

    I would like to thank the Aspen Institute Romania—and particularly Mircea Geoana—for organizing this impressive gathering of policy-makers, business leaders, thinkers, activists and citizens. In unique formats like this that convene all of society’s stakeholders, we can tackle some of the Euro-Atlantic community’s most complex and intractable challenges.

    Corruption is one of these challenges. Combating corruption is as difficult as it is important. In the United States, we know this from our own history. We fight every day to live up to the immortal words written in our Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal” and as such, all Americans have the self-evident right to equal protection under the law. These ideals are also at the forefront of Romania’s democracy. Romania’s constitution opens with the declaration that this country is “governed by the rule of law, in which human dignity, citizens’ rights and freedoms, the free development of human personality, justice and political pluralism represent supreme values…” These democratic values—preserving and defending rule of law, protecting the right to free media, guaranteeing an independent judiciary and providing a clean, accountable and transparent government—are the basis of our Euro-Atlantic community.

    Both Americans and Europeans know the corrosive effects that corruption can have on the ability to deliver the prosperity, security and liberty that our citizens deserve. In Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans—where so much progress has been made in the last 25 years to shore up these common values—corruption remains one of the top obstacles to reaching our dream of completing a Europe whole, free and at peace.

    The reasons are simple. Corruption undermines economies, erodes democracies, and threatens security throughout the region. It drains away public resources at a time when every penny is needed to shore up Europe’s economic recovery. Every Euro, Forint, or Leu that is diverted for personal enrichment is one that is not used to help fund hospitals, improve schools, and build roads. Citizens who witness corruption lost faith in their leaders and government. Tax evasion rises. Foreign direct investment is decreases. And many of the most able-bodied and highly-educated workers—doctors, engineers, and scientists—emigrate abroad where their talents are rewarded instead of squandered. Economic growth stagnates or declines. The victims who suffer the most are the most vulnerable. The effects and influence of corruption are so dangerous to economic prosperity that the World Bank has labeled corruption “public enemy number one.”

    Now more than ever, we see how corruption threatens not only the economy but security and sovereignty as well. At its worst, corruption hollows out military and border services; allows malevolent coalitions to build across borders in ways that undermine democracy; and enables criminals and hostile states to infiltrate and control strategically important sectors like energy. Today, in view of the crisis in Ukraine, the urgency could not be greater.

    So we must ask ourselves: How can we marshal the full force of society, of this unique group of stakeholders—governments, the business community, civil society, the media—in this fight? How can we work together across Europe and Eurasia to root out corruption wherever it hides?

    There is no “one size fits all” solution to tackle corruption across the Euro-Atlantic. But one thing is certain: the battle against corruption requires determination of all members of society—from the energy company CEO to the Member of Parliament to the police officer patrolling the night streets. The fight against corruption must rise up locally, build capacity and include citizen “buy-in.” All actors in society must focus on fundamental principles like transparency, rule of law, stable institutions, and efficient courts to enforce democratically promulgated rules. Governments, civil society, business and the media must remain vigilant responsible authorities, including police, prosecutors, and judges implement the law effectively, aggressively and impartially and enforce the principle that no one is above the law.

    Our host today, Romania is a good example of a country where the development of strong, independent and impartial judicial institutions, especially organizations like the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, the Supreme Court and the National Integrity Agency, are having a strong, positive effect on rule of law. These institutions have been remarkable in their efforts and need to continue to be resourced, respected, and insulated from outside influence. Romania is poised to advance even further, as it considers ways to ensure full accountability of its elected and government officials and improves the transparency of its legislative procedures—something we are helping with through initiatives like yesterday’s Regulatory Impact Assessment Workshop, which the U.S. Government organized supported with the Romanian Government.

    The United States stands ready to partner with those in Europe and Eurasia looking to strengthen public institutions, bolster rule of law, and improve the quality of governance. We are identifying the most damaging forms of corruption across the region and the best weapons to fight them. By doing this, we can establish best practices and apply them where corruption festers. Across the region, the United States is working to bring together coalitions of like-minded actors from business, civil society and leaders from the next generation. We are offering legal and technical assistance best suited to local conditions. And we are raising expectations and testing governments that their commitments to clean governance aren’t just about words, but actions.

    Looking regionally, we are supporting initiatives like the South Eastern European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC) here in Bucharest and OECD Anti-Corruption Network for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and the CEELI Institute’s Judicial Integrity Network to provide training and build networks among practitioners and enhance coordination. We are championing the Open Government Partnership and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative; and advocating that all European states fully implement the UN’s Convention against Corruption.

    The United States and the EU are also working together to tackle this transnational challenge. Both sides of the Atlantic have done much. We’ve passed legislation to compel companies to publicly disclose the payments they make to governments in extractive industries such as oil, gas, and minerals, sectors that are particularly vulnerable to corruption. We are working to guarantee that our aid and technical assistance programs in places like Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and the Balkans emphasize public accountability and responsiveness. We have collaborated closely to build the international architecture to recover proceeds of corruption that kleptocrats stow abroad, through initiatives such as the Ukraine Forum on Asset Recovery. But we can do more. For example, we should look at how to use the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and other trade agreements to promote anti-corruption measures and cleaner governance.

    As Vice President Biden stated here in Bucharest a couple of months ago: “In the 21st century, the countries that will thrive will be the ones where citizens know their voices are heard because the institutions are transparent.” If we empower those fighting for transparency and accountability with the tools and initiatives to take the fight into their own hands; if we dedicate the political will necessary to wage this fight; if we guarantee the highest standard of governance; then I am confident that the countries of this region and beyond can reach their full potential. Together we can open the next chapter of prosperity, security and human dignity for all our citizens. Thank you.

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  • Daily News of 2014-09-09

    EXME 14 / 09.09


    09 / 09 / 14

    EU supports African Union mission to fight Ebola

    The European Commission will provide €5 million to the newly established mission of the African Union (AU) “Support to Ebola Outbreak in West-Africa” (ASEOWA) that will join the ongoing efforts to contain the spread of the disease in the region, as announced at an AU Partner Group’s meeting on Ebola in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). ASEOWA will provide advice to the Ebola coordination structures in the affected countries and engage in joint operations with them. It will also provide medical support in their on-going responses to the Ebola outbreak and assist local authorities and the international community in consolidating the control over the virus’ epidemic.

    Russian trade ban: Commissioner Damanaki ready to support EU fisheries sector

    In the light of Russia’s trade ban which also hit the European fisheries sector this summer, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, yesterday underlined that she stands ready to support the European fisheries sector financially and with flexible fishing quotas. In a letter to the Italian Presidency and the European Parliament, Commissioner Damanaki called upon the EU governments concerned by the ban to make use “as quickly as possible” of the  European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), which can provide financial help to producers who are unable to sell their products to Russia. The aid enables them to store the unsold products until new markets have been found and can be unlocked without any approval by the European Commission. Commissioner Damanaki added that she instructed her services to examine the possibility to carry over more than the usual 10% of fishing quotas to next year. She underlined that she could take a positive stance on this option, under the condition that scientists confirm that such a proposal would not undermine the long term sustainability of fish stocks.

    Youth Guarantee: Commission reviews 18 pilot projects

    The European Commission is meeting with the coordinators of 18 Youth Guarantee pilot projects at a seminar in Brussels today. The meeting will review the achievements of the projects that are being implemented in Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom. The pilot projects represent concrete ways of putting the Youth Guarantee into practice by for example reinforcing links between employers and schools and by upgrading support to young people from public employment services. Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, said: “The Youth Guarantee is a structural reform which requires Member States to improve their youth employment policy on all levels. The pilot projects show that this approach works and brings results. The Youth Guarantee is proving to be the most rapidly implemented EU structural reform. The Commission directly works with all Member States to ensure the full and rapid implementation of the Youth Guarantee.” See also MEMO/14/521 .

    Commission says OECD findings confirm importance of investment in education for EU growth and jobs

    The European Commission welcomes the launch today of Education at a Glance 2014, the annual report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the state of play and challenges faced by national education systems. It highlights the growing importance of investment in education for future growth and employment in the EU and for more inclusive European societies.

    Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over the Zagreb Airport manager by Aéroports de Paris, Bouygues Bâtiment, International Finance Corporation, Marguerite Fund and TAV

    The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Zagreb Airport International Company (“ZAIC”) by International Finance Corporation (“IFC”) of the US, TAV Airports Holding (“TAV”) of Turkey, Aéroports de Paris Management (“AdP”), Bouygues Bâtiment International (“BBI”) and Marguerite Fund (“Marguerite”), all of France. ZAIC is a UK corporation which operates and manages the Zagreb Airport and finances, builds and operates a new airport terminal at Zagreb Airport under a concession agreement. AdP is a fully owned subsidiary of Aéroports de Paris that invests in airport companies and manages airport operations outside of the Paris region. BBI, part of the Bouygues Group, manages, designs and constructs building projects at an international level. IFC is an international organisation, member of the World Bank Group, established in 1956 to further economic growth in its developing member countries by promoting private sector development. Marguerite focuses on investments in greenfield infrastructures. TAV operates and manages airports, mainly outside Europe. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, in particular because of its small impact on the market structure. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7327 .

    Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Holcim assets by Cemex in the building materials sector

    Following an in-depth investigation (see  IP/14/472) the European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the Spanish operations of the Swiss building materials group Holcim (“Holcim assets”) by its Mexican rival Cemex. Cemex and Holcim are global suppliers of cement and other building materials. The Holcim assets comprise plants and quarries dedicated to the production and supply of cement, aggregates, ready-mix concrete and mortar in Spain. The Commission concluded that the acquisition would not raise competition concerns since the merged entity will continue to face sufficient competition from its rivals in all markets concerned.

    What Commissioners said

    ‘Destination Europe – an opportunity for Canadian researchers’

    In her opening speech at the Destination Europe Conference at McGill University in Montreal, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, stated: “During the Seventh EU Framework Programme, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie scheme funded some 270 Canadian researchers to work in Europe and more than 150 Europeans to work in Canada. We hope that this excellent level of researcher mobility will increase in the coming years. These pan-European programmes are only the tip of the iceberg of opportunities. EU Member States also offer generous grants and fellowship programmes open to researchers from anywhere in the world. However, Europe’s attractiveness is not just based on our excellent research capabilities, infrastructure or the funding opportunities you will hear about this morning. It is also due to our deep and diverse arts and culture, our beautiful landscapes, our vibrant cities, our varied cuisine and many other features of a fulfilling life. Of course there is little point in having so many opportunities available for researchers from around the world if they are not aware of them. This is why I launched the Destination Europe initiative two and a half years ago. Together with the EU’s Member States we believe that it is essential to promote Europe’s vibrant and forward-looking research and innovation culture and to raise awareness internationally of the many excellent career and funding opportunities in European industry, universities and research organisations.”

    Cohesion Policy’s contribution to common European goals

    Speaking at the second day of the 6th Cohesion Forum which saw the Presidents of the European Parliament, European Commission and the European Council, Martin Schulz, Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy addressing an audience of political representatives, experts and stakeholders, Commissioner Hahn said: “Cohesion Policy can contribute to common European goals. Through the shared management principle and the partnership approach, the Cohesion Policy is able to deliver on the ground, mobilise resources, and create ownership. Perhaps the most obvious example these days is our energy dependence. Cohesion Policy is targeting the low carbon economy, investing in energy efficiency, on research and innovation, new technologies and alternative energy sources. It is contributing to EU climate goals and helps us address our energy security. So far we know that some 38 billion EURO have been allocated to such investments to support the transition to a low carbon and climate resilient economy. Overall, the reform has made the Cohesion Policy an instrument to deal with whatever challenges may come our way by 2020 and beyond”. On the subject of the budget he added: “I think we have arrived at a point at which the actual implementation of the projects on the ground will be affected because of lack of liquidity. The Member States have to assume their responsibility seriously and address this mismatch between their policy commitments and their budget decisions”.

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  • الطاقة الشمسية ستجبر شركات الطاقة العالمية على تعديل نماذج أعمالها

    الرياض، المملكة العربية السعودية، 8 سبتمبر/أيلول 2014 /بي أر نيوزوير/ ایشیانیٹ باکستان — جيرمي ليجيت الخبير البارز في مجال الطاقة الشمسية سيكون متحدثا رئيسيا في مؤتمر “الطاقة الشمسية للصحراء في المملكة العربية السعودية” الذي تجري فعالياته يومي 17 و18 سبتمبر/ أيلول المقبل. يلقي جيرمي ليجيت، وهو خبير دولي بارز في مجال الطاقة الشمسية، ومقاول ورجل […]

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  • ‘Destination Europe – an opportunity for Canadian researchers’

    European Commission

    [Check Against Delivery]


    European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science

    ‘Destination Europe – an opportunity for Canadian researchers’

    Destination Europe Conference at McGill University

    Montreal, 8 September 2014

    Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen, and welcome to this, the first Destination Europe Conference to be held in Canada.

    It is very fitting that it takes place at McGill because this University has built up excellent cooperation with EU research and innovation programmes over the years.

    And of course the University hosts one of the five EU Centres of Excellence in Canada. The funding of this Centre recognises the high quality, variety and depth of your activities to promote the study of the European Union and EU-Canada relations.

    Canada is a key research and innovation partner for the European Union.

    Today, there are almost 200 EU-funded research and innovation projects with Canadian participants, and McGill is top of the list – its researchers are taking part in 16 projects.

    In addition, individual Canadian researchers have been very successful in winning highly competitive European grants: more than 270 Canadian researchers have come to Europe with Marie Skłodowska-Curie funding and some 30 Canadians have been awarded very prestigious European Research Council grants.

    It’s not surprising that we have such active cooperation. For a start, Europeans, like Canadians, make excellent partners in research and innovation.

    Although we have only 7% of the world’s population, Europe is responsible for 24% of world expenditure on research; 32% of high-impact publications and 32% of patent applications.

    Europe’s world-class centres of excellence are responsible for some of the most important – and visible – breakthroughs in basic and applied sciences.

    Just last month, after a decade-long journey in pursuit of its target, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta became the first spacecraft to rendezvous with a comet, a feat likened to landing on a flying bullet!

    This was the result of a huge international endeavour and it opens a new chapter in our exploration of the solar system and our understanding of the universe.

    You will have heard of course of the experiments carried out at CERN, which have advanced our knowledge of the universe by finding the elusive Higgs Boson.

    My visit to CERN reinforced my pride in knowing that this facility on European soil – or rather under European soil! – brings together the world’s best scientists to advance knowledge and understanding for humanity as a whole.

    That might sound just a little bit evangelical! – but I am absolutely passionate about the opportunities for researchers in Europe and I’m determined to ensure that colleagues from around the world, Canada included, join us in Europe.

    The Max Planck Institute of Germany, the Gulbenkian Institute in Portugal, the CNRS in France, or the Karolinska Institute in Sweden are just a few more examples of the European centres of excellence that are waiting for you. And of course there are world-renowned universities such as Oxford and Cambridge in the UK.

    In the private sector, industry in Europe continues to invest in science, technology and innovation. EU-based enterprises continue to rely on R&D for their competitive edge.

    In 2012 an EU company, the German carmaker Volkswagen, was the world’s largest private sector Research and Development investor, with an investment of 9.5 billion Euro. Overall EU based firms stepped up Research and Development investment by 6.3%.

    CERN and Rosetta certainly hit the headlines around the world, but the news from Europe over the last few years has often focused on the economic downturn. I am here to tell you that signs of recovery in Europe are starting to show, and I am convinced that research and innovation will be at the heart of a lasting recovery.

    I’m certainly not alone in that conviction. Last October the leaders of the EU’s 28 Member States reaffirmed that ‘Investment in research and innovation fuels productivity and growth and is key for job creation’.

    That might sound like stating the obvious, but in my book, it’s a message that can’t be repeated too often. It also serves as a statement of our intent in Europe.

    So, even when public budgets are tight, many European countries are protecting investment in research. In fact, the EU has agreed a target for research and innovation spending of 3% of GDP by 2020.

    This investment means opportunities not only for European researchers, but also for researchers anywhere in the world who are interested in working in Europe or with European partners.

    Horizon 2020, launched last December, is the European Union’s response to the need to invest in our economy through Research and Innovation.

    This seven-year funding programme provides huge opportunities for researchers and innovators to collaborate across Europe and indeed with the rest of the world. Its total budget is nearly 80 billion Euro, or around 120 billion Canadian Dollars

    While the EU’s overall budget for the next seven years has been cut, Horizon 2020 represents a decisive shift towards research and innovation – with Horizon 2020 seeing a 30% real terms increase in finance over the previous programme.

    Horizon 2020 is a new type of research programme for the EU. It has been designed from the outset to deliver results that make a difference in people’s lives. It offers support at every step of the journey from excellent fundamental research to innovative products and services.

    It takes a challenge-based approach. This is because the problems that Europe faces – whether food and energy security, clean transport, public health or climate change – cannot be solved by a single field of science or technology, let alone by a single country, or in most cases, by Europe alone.

    Complex challenges need solutions that draw upon many different areas of research and innovation and that’s why interdisciplinarity is such a crucial aspect of Horizon 2020.

    It is also one of the reasons why we are highlighting international cooperation – Horizon 2020 welcomes participants from across the globe in its research and innovation projects.

    Furthermore, and with particular relevance for this audience, individual researchers from anywhere in the world can apply for the prestigious European Research Council grants and for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions on researcher training, mobility and careers.

    In this morning’s event you will hear from these two major pan-European initiatives designed to promote excellence, competition, mobility and innovation:

    The European Research Council funds researchers from anywhere in the world to establish their own research teams and carry out top-class research in Europe. Over 30 ERC-funded Canadians are currently working in Europe. They have established their teams in prestigious institutions like the University of Oxford, the Max Planck Society and the Institute Pasteur.

    The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions offer huge opportunities to early stage researchers, from doing a PhD within an Initial Training Network, to individual fellowships for Post-Docs.

    During the Seventh EU Framework Programme, that ended last year, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie scheme funded some 270 Canadian researchers to work in Europe and more than 150 Europeans to work in Canada. We hope that this excellent level of researcher mobility will increase in the coming years.

    These pan-European programmes are only the tip of the iceberg of opportunities. EU Member States also offer generous grants and fellowship programmes open to researchers from anywhere in the world.

    However, Europe’s attractiveness is not just based on our excellent research capabilities, infrastructure or the funding opportunities you will hear about this morning.

    It is also due to our deep and diverse arts and culture, our beautiful landscapes, our vibrant cities, our varied cuisine and many other features of a fulfilling life.

    Of course there is little point in having so many opportunities available for researchers from around the world if they are not aware of them.

    This is why I launched the Destination Europe initiative two and a half years ago. Together with the EU’s Member States we believe that it is essential to promote Europe’s vibrant and forward-looking research and innovation culture and to raise awareness internationally of the many excellent career and funding opportunities in European industry, universities and research organisations.

    Through Destination Europe events we have been providing information to researchers considering a career move to Europe – whether for a few months or a few years.

    But we recognise, too, that it is not enough to come and present these opportunities once or twice a year.

    You need easy and continuous access to information about the opportunities. This is why we have created EURAXESS – with a free jobs portal featuring thousands of vacancies in Europe each day, in a vast array of research fields.

    If you decide to move to – if you are European, move back to – Europe, you may also need help on practical issues. EURAXESS Service Centres in 40 European countries can provide information on everything from visas to child care.

    Here in North America, the dedicated EURAXESS-Links North America network was established a few years ago and I encourage all of you to join it so you can stay informed of policy developments and career and funding opportunities in Europe.

    On the issue of visas – I would like to mention that most EU countries have ratified the scientific visa package, to facilitate the procedures for admitting researchers from outside Europe.

    In order to succeed, Europe has to continuously stimulate research and innovation and to capitalise on its brightest and most innovative ideas.

    Our success will depend, in part, on our ability to attract talent to complement and catalyse the skills and knowledge we already have.

    Europe is serious in its ambition to compete for the best talent worldwide. I hope that this conference will inspire many of you to make Europe the next destination on your career path.

    Whether you are from Canada, Africa, Asia, or elsewhere, whether you are a Doctoral Student, a Post-Doc or an established researcher; Europe has something to offer you. Come and join us!

    Thank you.

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  • Daily News of 2014-09-04

    EXME 14 / 04.09


    04 / 09 / 14

    Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Morgan Stanley’s Global Oil Merchanting Unit by Rosneft

    The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of parts of Morgan Stanley of the United States, namely Morgan Stanley’s Global Oil Merchanting Unit, by OJSC Oil Company Rosneft of Russia. The parties’ activities overlap on various markets for oil and refined petroleum products, including fuel oil sales in the EEA. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because the overlaps are very limited and a number of strong players would remain in the market after the merger. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M. 7318 .

    Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Aviapartner by H.I.G. European Capital Partners

    The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of sole control of the Belgian company Aviapartner by H.I.G. European Capital Partners SAS a French management fund. H.I.G. SAS is a private equity firm focused on management buy-outs and recapitalizations of middle market companies as well as growth equity investments. Aviapartner and its subsidiaries provide ground handling services, in particular ramp and passenger services, cargo handling and freight related services. It is present at 27 airports in 6 European countries, namely Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns because the parties are not active in the same markets and therefore the transaction would not involve any addition in market share, nor are there any significant vertical links. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under case number M.7362 .

    President Barroso at the NATO Summit

    Today and tomorrow, the President of the European Commission will join world leaders at the NATO Wales Summit in Cardiff (UK) in a particular security environment caused mainly by the instability in Eastern Europe but also in the Middle East and North Africa.

    The Ukrainian crisis will be in the top of the agenda of the Summit. President Barroso will take part at the session on Afghanistan . He is expected to reiterate the EU long-term commitment to the country, exemplified in new strategy and funding until 2020 – including for the policing commitments made at the Chicago Summit in 2012.

    Vassiliou and Liu Yandong to hold talks over EU-China cooperation for education, culture and women’s rights

    The European Union and China plan to work more closely together in education, culture and youth policy as well as new areas including gender equality and efforts to address violence against women. These are among potential new priority areas for the ‘High-Level-People-to-People Dialogue’ (HPPD) between the EU and China, which aims to build trust and understanding between the two regions’ peoples. Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will meet Chinese Vice-Premier Liu Yandong in Beijing on 6 September to take stock of the HPPD’s achievements since its launch two years ago. The two leaders will also discuss other areas where the EU and China could expand cooperation, including greater participation of Chinese institutions in the U-Multirank university ranking and a new project to promote cultural festivals in China.

    Innovative textiles to boost EU seaweed farming

    Seaweed is an important but under-exploited resource for food and feed ingredients, biochemicals and the production of biofuels. But it has been difficult to harvest efficiently on a large scale. Until now. The EU-funded AT~SEA project has developed advanced textiles that give high yields from floating seaweed farms and allow easy, mechanised cultivation. Project coordinator Bert Groenendaal of Belgium-based Sioen Industries said that farming seaweed on the scale made possible by the new textiles can help create a multi-billion euro industry in Europe – boosting growth and jobs. Sioen is one of seven companies involved in the project, along with four research centres.

    Report on Roma Health underlines extent of poor health outcomes for Roma

    An evidence-based review of literature from 2008 to 2013 on Roma health, published today, confirms that the Roma population in Europe suffer disproportionately from illnesses that are associated with the social determinants of health. Roma die on average at least ten years younger than non-Roma, have higher rates of infant mortality and poorer access to health services. Although there are still vast gaps in Roma health data which prevent a full understanding of the situation, there are some indications that the economic crisis has spurred a further deterioration in health status and health access for this population group in a number of countries and regions. The report, commissioned by the European Commission, suggests that further initiatives and health interventions, including systematic health data collection are needed to improve the health of Roma across Europe.

    To read the report in full.

    Follow us on Twitter: @EU_Health

    Quality food products: European Commission approves Bulgarian Роле Трапезица as a new TSG

    The European Commission has approved the addition of a new Bulgarian quality food product to the register of Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG). The name ‘ Роле Трапезица’ (Role Trapezitsa) of this unique Bulgarian product is derived from ‘Trapezitsa’, the name of a historical hill in Veliko Tarnovo, the old imperial capital of Bulgaria. ‘Role Trapezitsa’ is a pressed, raw dry-cured meat product prepared from chilled or frozen pork collar and a mixture of salt and natural seasonings (black or white pepper and garlic) stuffed into a casing made of bovine blind gut or collagen and netting and bound with twine. This soft and succulent meat is characterized with an exceptional taste and flavour. The denomination will be added to the list of more than 1,200 products already protected. More information: webpages on quality products and DOOR database of protected products.

    Le Commissaire Andris Piebalgs annonce un nouveau soutien au Bénin lors de sa visite dans le pays

    Le Commissaire européen pour le Développement, Andris Piebalgs, annoncera demain que le soutien de l’Union européenne au Bénin pour la période 2014-2020 s’élèvera à près de 450 millions d’euros. Cette annonce sera faite dans le cadre de sa visite au Bénin du 4 au 5 septembre 2014.

    Il s’agit pour l’UE de continuer à appuyer le secteur de la gouvernance, auquel s’ajouteront les secteurs de l’agriculture et de l’énergie. Pour ce dernier, l’aide se concentrera sur l’accès des populations à l’énergie, la promotion des énergies renouvelables et l’efficacité énergétique.

    Cette visite permettra de réaffirmer la volonté de l’Union européenne d’accompagner le Bénin dans son processus de développement. Elle sera par ailleurs l’occasion d’un échange de vues du Commissaire Piebalgs avec les autorités béninoises sur les questions économiques et de développement, les résultats obtenus et les perspectives de la coopération entre l’Union européenne et le Bénin.

    New Narrative for Europe: artists at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of “La Biennale di Venezia” organize a Domino Conversation with President Barroso, 7 September

    On 7 September at 4 pm CET, President Barroso will participate in a Domino Conversation organized in the framework of the New Narrative for Europe project in the context of the Weekend Specials Program of Monditalia, an essential part of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition settled in the Corderie of Arsenale, one of the main venues of la Biennale di Venezia. The Domino Conversations are an initiative of the collective theTomorrow , which provides a digital space that involves a large group of intellectuals, artists, scientists, researches, students and various players in European cultural life to look at the near future of Europe. The European Commission, in the context of the New Narrative project, supports the activities of theTomorrow.

    For the Domino Conversation, a select group of European artists and intellectuals as Rem Koolhaas, Alice Rohrwacher, Stefano Boeri, Elif Shafak, Okwui Enwezor and Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev will prepare a statement that focuses on and engages one of the themes addressed in the Declaration ” The Mind and Body of Europe “, the main output of the New Narrative for Europe project. Each intervention concludes with a question addressed to President Barroso. This conversation will be published in the book ” The Mind and Body of Europe: a new narrative”, together with the main contributions received throughout the two years of the project. The book will be presented at the closing event of the project.

    Agriculture and Fisheries Council, 5th September 2014

    The Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting of September 2014 will take place in Brussels on 5th September 2014, starting at 2pm. The Commission will be represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloş. A press conference will be held at the end of the discussions and can be followed by video streaming: . EU Ministers will have a detailed discussion on the potential impact of the Russian import ban on certain EU agricultural products and on the policy response. It is the only issue on the agenda. As soon as the Russian measures were announced on August 6, the Commission acted swiftly to coordinate the EU reaction. Having set up a task force of Commission experts, a meeting with Member State experts was organised – and a monitoring system has now been established which allows the Commission to follow the price for every “banned” product every week in every Member State. Similar meetings take place every week at technical level, but this Council will be the first full political discussion.

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  • فرص مربحة في الأسواق السعودية للطاقة الشمسية الهجينة والبعيدة عن الشبكة الوطنية

    الرياض، المملكة العربية السعودية في 4 أيلول/سبتمبر 2014 / بي آر نيوز واير / ایشیانیٹ باکستان  — تتطلع المملكة العربية السعودية إلى تحقيق توازن في الاعتماد على وقود الديزل بحلول الخلايا الشمسية الهجينة بعيدا عن شبكة الطاقة الرئيسية ويستعد المطورون والمزودون المحليون لتغذية المناطق السكنية والصناعية النائية بالكهرباء وأظهرت تطبيقات توليد الكهرباء من الطاقة الشمسية […]

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  • Remarks by President Barroso following the bilateral talks with Prime Minister Dung of Vietnam

    European Commission

    [Check Against Delivery]

    José Manuel Durão Barroso

    President of the European Commission

    Remarks by President Barroso following the bilateral talks with Prime Minister Dung of Vietnam

    Press conference

    Hanoi, Vietnam, 25 August 2014

    Good afternoon, ladies and gentleman,

    I am particularly glad to be in Hanoi today – seven years after my first visit to Vietnam as President of the European Commission.

    And it is a pleasure to meet again Prime Minister Dung giving sequence to our intense contacts over these last years.

    Europe values its special partnership with Vietnam. Vietnam is not just an emerging economy and a promising market, it is also a close partner with strong historical bounds uniting us and a trusted supporter of EU presence in this part of the world.

    Today we have extremely dynamic relations grounded in these commonalities and in strong mutual interests.

    And I am particularly proud for having contributed for such a close and dynamic relationship over these last years.

    In 2007 when I first visited Vietnam, Prime Minister Dung and I opened a new chapter in our partnership as we launched together the negotiations for a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. Three years later, in 2010, we initialled this Agreement together in Brussels and it was signed in 2012.

    As expected, this Partnership and Cooperation Agreement represents a qualitative leap in our bilateral partnership.

    It now allows the broadening and deepening of relations beyond the traditional areas of trade and development.

    It includes areas such as human rights, environment and climate change, science and technology, transport, tourism, energy, education and culture, peace and security relationship. The list is long, but by no means complete.

    The strengthening of our relations is also visible in the deepening of economic ties and the rapid development of two-way trade and investment.

    Today the EU is Vietnam’s largest export market and second largest trade partner. Our trade relations come today to 27 billion euro (USD 36 billion) a year. And Europe’s foreign direct investment in Vietnam amounted to € 656 million in 2013 (around USD 880 million).

    But we can and must do more.

    This is why in 2012 we have launched talks for a Free Trade Agreement. This will be the second pillar in which our Partnership will stand.

    This Free Trade Agreement will offer important new business opportunities and promote growth and employment in Vietnam and in Europe.

    It will benefit our companies and our citizens. And it will also help the process of reform and modernisation of Vietnam. There has been a good progress in negotiations and I look at this Agreement with great optimism.

    Let it be no doubts. The EU stands firmly on Vietnam’s side on its path towards an industrialised country by 2020. We will continue to support Vietnam in its reform process including through our development assistance.

    The EU is today Vietnam’s largest grant donor and I can confirm that we decided this month to significantly increase our assistance to Vietnam for the period 2014-2020 to 400 million euro.

    This assistance will target in particular the areas of “governance and rule of law” and “sustainable energy”, in line with the Government’s development priorities.

    Because as we discussed today, good governance, human rights, the rule of law and adherence to the international rules based system are driving forces for development. I have also stressed to PM Dung that free media and free internet have an important role to play in a thriving civil society.

    Last but not least, today we also exchanged views on the situation in the South China Sea/East Sea. We shared our concerns about developments in the area.

    In fact, the EU has high stakes in the region: trade and strategic interests, as well as energy and security dimensions. I have assured to Prime Minister Dung that the EU is following developments in the South China Sea with particular attention.

    We do not take a position on individual territorial claims, but we strongly encourage all parties to seek peaceful solutions in accordance with international law, in particular with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. All sides should refrain from unilateral actions which could cause tension or unintended accidents.

    Regional cooperation and international cooperation is essential to address the challenges with which we are faced with.

    This is why ASEAN integration is very important and we strongly support it. It is time to set up a Strategic Partnership between the EU and ASEAN.

    Prime Minister Dung,

    I believe in the great potential of our bilateral relations. We have much to gain from working more closely with each other on bilateral and international issues such as the fight against climate change, stimulating global growth and securing peace and stability.

    I have to thank you for your enthusiasm and support in bringing our bilateral relationship to a higher level.

    I look back with great satisfaction on what we have achieved together in the last years.

    And I look forward with great expectation for what will come next.

    Thank you for your attention.

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  • Joint press statement between the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the European Union

    European Commission


    Hanoi, 25 August 2014

    Joint press statement between the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the European Union

    1. At the invitation of Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam Nguyen Tan Dung, President of the European Commission (EC) José Manuel Durão Barroso, paid an official visit to Viet Nam from 25-26 August 2014.

    During the visit, President José Manuel Durão Barroso held talks with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung; paid courtesy calls on General Secretary of Viet Nam Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong, State President Truong Tan Sang; received the Degree of Doctor Honoris Causae upon H.E. Mr. José Manuel Durão Barroso from National Economics University (NEU) in Hanoi and addressed NEU students; visited Ho Chi Minh city; had a meeting with the Chairman of the People Committee of Ho Chi Minh City and met with Vietnamese and European businesses.

    2. In the spirit of friendship and mutual understanding, President José Manuel Durão Barroso and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung informed each other of the developments in the European Union (EU) and Viet Nam, discussed measures to intensify Viet Nam-EU multi-faceted cooperation, and exchanged views on international and regional issues of mutual interest.

    3. The two leaders expressed satisfaction with the impressive development of bilateral relations. They highly appreciated the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation (PCA) between Viet Nam and the EU as a qualitative leap in the bilateral partnership, that allowed the broadening and deepening of relations beyond the traditional areas of trade and development to include areas such as environment and climate change, human rights, science and technology, transport, tourism, energy, education and culture, peace and security. Both sides also welcomed the increased flow of visits and contact at all levels since signing of the PCA, especially the highest level. President Barroso underlined the commitment of the EU to its relations with Viet Nam, appreciating Viet Nam’s role as important partner for the EU and a key player in ASEAN and internationally.

    4. President Barroso expressed his pleasure to return to Viet Nam since 2007 and witness first-hand Viet Nam’s impressive socio-economic achievements. The two leaders welcomed the deepening of Viet Nam-EU economic ties and rapid development of two-way trade and investment. They welcomed the continued expansion of bilateral trade and the EU’s position as Viet Nam’s largest export market and 2nd largest trade partner. The leaders noted that the EU is also one of the largest foreign investors in Viet Nam with a total of EUR 495 million in 2013. President Barroso expressed his belief that Viet Nam would continue to be an attractive destination for foreign investors, including European investors and businesses.

    5. The leaders welcomed the good progress in negotiations towards a Viet Nam-EU Free Trade Agreement and expressed the wish to conclude the negotiations swiftly. They emphasized that a mutually-beneficial Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will offer new business opportunities for economic operators, enhance inflows of Foreign Direct Investment and promote growth and employment. President Barroso acknowledged the substantial progress Viet Nam has made in its transition to a market economy initiated by the Doi moi policy and encouraged Viet Nam to pursue the path of economic reform. The EU and Viet Nam agreed to intensify the market economy status (MES) process which aims at enabling Viet Nam to qualify for MES as soon as possible towards mutually beneficial and equal partnership.

    6. Both sides agreed to continue encouraging and facilitating Vietnamese and European businesses to step up investment, business and establish partnership, particularly in prioritised areas including, among others, industry, infrastructure, transportation, energy, finance, services, health, space applications and tourism.

    7. President Barroso informed the Prime Minister of Viet Nam about the ongoing economic recovery in the EU. Domestic demand is firming; important reforms have been implemented, and growth-friendly fiscal consolidation is bearing fruit. Europe’s economic recovery is gradually also reaching the labour market, where unemployment figures have started to decrease, though they are still at an unacceptably high level. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung highly appreciated the visit by the European Commission President at a time when Viet Nam-EU relations had seen significant progress and both sides were preparing for the celebration of 25 years of diplomatic relations (1990-2015). Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung congratulated the EU on successfully overcoming the recent macro-economic challenges and moving forward with the process of expansion and integration.

    8. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung appreciated the ratification by a large number of EU Member States of the PCA between Viet Nam and the EU and expressed hope that the European Parliament and remaining EU Member States would soon ratify the PCA.

    9. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung thanked the EU and the EU Member States for the pledge of EUR 542 million development assistance for Viet Nam in 2014. The EU and the EU Member States thus remain the largest grant aid donor of Viet Nam. President Barroso assured the EU’s continued support to Viet Nam’s reform process, including through development cooperation. He confirmed the significant increase of bilateral development assistance to Vietnam from EUR 300 million in 2007-2013 to EUR 400 million for the period 2014-2020. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung expressed appreciation for the strong contribution of the EU to Viet Nam’s development efforts and welcomed the choice of focal sectors “sustainable energy” and “governance and rule of law” as pertinent and well aligned with Viet Nam’s development priorities.

    10. The two leaders agreed that good governance, human rights, the rule of law and adherence to the international rules based system were conducive to development internationally and nationally. President Barroso recognised the progress of Viet Nam in meeting the challenges that come with a modernizing society. In this connection, President Barroso shared the benefits of vibrant media and internet. The EU side welcomed Viet Nam’s election to the UN Human Rights Council in November 2013 as sign of determination to further promote and protect human rights.

    11. The two sides stressed the importance of ASEAN – EU cooperation to the region and welcomed the achievements both sides have accomplished in over 37 years of relationship. The two sides appreciated the agreements made by both sides’ Foreign Ministries during the recent 20thASEAN – EU Ministerial Meeting in Brussels in July 2014, including working towards the upgrading of the partnership to a strategic one and enhancing cooperation in ASEAN Connectivity and maritime security and safety. In this regards, the EU highly appreciated the role and efforts of Viet Nam as the current Country Coordinator of the ASEAN – EU relationship and as Co-chair of the Ministerial Meeting in achieving those results.

    President Barroso further stressed strong commitment to ASEAN centrality in the evolving regional architecture and support to ASEAN Community building efforts, including the ASEAN post – 2015 Agenda. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung reaffirmed supports for EU’s enhanced engagement in ASEAN-led regional architecture and in this connection, applauded EU’s recent doubling of the support for ASEAN to EUR 170 million in the period 2014 – 2020. Both sides agreed to work closely to further enhance ASEAN – EU relationship.

    12. Viet Nam welcomed the EU’s commitment to support the sustainable development of water resources in the Mekong sub-region, including Mekong-Danube cooperation in the ASEM dialogue on Sustainable Development, particularly in sustainable water management, environmental protection, infrastructure development, public-private partnership, capacity building, etc. in line with the EU Water Diplomacy and support ASEAN centrality in regional cooperation mechanisms.

    13. Both sides highly valued the exchanges and cooperation between Viet Nam and the EU at multilateral fora and international organizations; agreed to continue coordinating and supporting each other on issues of mutual interest. The two sides recognized the 10th ASEM Summit (Asia – Europe Meeting) to be held on 16th and 17th October 2014 in Milan as an important opportunity to forge stronger ties between Asia and Europe.

    14. The two leaders discussed the ongoing tensions in the South China Sea/East Sea and agreed that territorial disputes should be settled peacefully in a spirit of cooperation and respect of international law, including the United nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982). President Barroso reiterated the EU’s support for a political-diplomatic process and the rights of claimants to seek peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, including through legal dispute settlement mechanisms. President Barroso also affirmed the EU’s support of ongoing efforts to work towards a formal and legally binding Code of Conduct. While hoping that these discussions can be intensified and completed as soon as possible the EU calls on all parties in the meantime to avoid unilateral actions that escalate tensions, threaten peace, stability, maritime security and safety in the region and abide by all other elements of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

    15. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung expressed his conviction that the official visit to Viet Nam by President of the European Commission José Manuel Durão Barroso would contribute to developing Viet Nam–EU multifaceted cooperation in breadth and depth, bringing about practical benefits for both sides, and actively contributing to peace, stability, cooperation and prosperity in the region and the world.

    16. President of European Commission José Manuel Durão Barroso extended an invitation to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to visit the EU in October 2014 on the occasion of the Prime Minister’s attendance in the 10thASEM Summit, and expressed gratitude for the thorough and warm reception reserved by the Vietnamese side for himself and the European Commission Delegation.

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